Terri Nunn is a singer and actress who took our breath away (bet noone has ever written that before!) as the lead singer of “Berlin.” She’s still rocking harder than anyone you know, saving the world one Prius at a time, and making music better than any 20 year old wannabe on the L.E.S. Let’s re-meet Terri, shall we?
Terri joined the New Wave, techno-pop band Berlin in 1979. Her greatest success with Berlin was top-selling single “Take My Breath Away”, the love theme from the film Top Gun, which reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Other popular songs voiced by Nunn included “Sex (I’m A…)”, “The Metro”, “No More Words”, and “Masquerade.” She appeared in numerous television shows of the 1970s and 1980s, and even auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in “Star Wars.” In the early 1990s Nunn sang backing vocals for the band “The Sisters of Mercy”, and re-banded Berlin, who has been putting our records ever since. In 2008, Nunn was one of the contributors to Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna’s book Cherry Bomb along with Dita Von Teese, Tori Amos, Cherie Currie of the Runaways, Lisa Loeb, Katy Perry, Betsey Johnson, & Anna Sui. She gave tips on sex and dating advice. She is a long time veggie green gal, LGBT advocate, and adopted a baby from Russia as an infant who will be turning 4 this year. Terri is also working on a solo album for release in 2009, and recently completed an acoustic version of Olivia Newton John’s “MAGIC” with Dave Navarro. Does she ever stop? We were lucky enough to interview the grand dame of rock n roll recently and pick her pretty brain.
GIRLIE GIRL ARMY: Hi Terri! First off, we are big fans of what you do, and what you stand for. What have you done in the last year to become more “Green”?
TERRI NUNN: I’ve been a Vegetarian since the age of 19, though not a normal one. My objection to farmed animal meat is the way it’s raised and how confined and sick the animals are, so I don’t eat it. I also don’t eat dairy products, which has the added benefit of helping to keep my weight down. If you cut out dairy products, you cut out almost half the fat in your diet. I do eat wild fish. We got a Prius in the last year. I also outfitted the entire house with compact fluorescents.
GGA: What was the process of adopting from Russia like?
TN: At times it was FUCKING HELL! Russia changed the rules frequently in the 2 years it took for us to bring Natalie home, and had all kinds of crazy hoops we had to jump through for reasons we still don’t understand. The plus is that, unlike America, the birthmother can never come after you and get her kid back (the major reason we did not adopt in the States). The minus is you have absolutely no power or say in the process of adopting your kid in Russia; you either do everything they say or don’t do it. Unlike IVF, it’s not a crapshoot; you WILL end up with a probably great child. With everything I went through, I STILL recommend wholeheartedly adopting abroad. I would go through every moment of heartbreak, rage, despair and hopelessness again 10 times for my Natalie Joy. She’s worth it all. However I will never do it again; we have 3 kids in the house now and I’m done.
GGA: Most of our celeb musician friends have now taken to making their living in Europe, where they still seem to appreciate musicianship and not accidental panty-free falls out of limos. How do you feel about the current state of “music” in the US? Do you have any tips for all the indie goddesses still on the road trying to make a buck?
TN: The music business is imploding in the biggest way I’ve seen in my lifetime. There’ve been many changes since I was born in the medias of music, from vinyl to 8 track to cassette to CD, but then digital recording changed everything. Where it will end up for artists, executives and consumers, I don’t know. The good news for me is that the concert business is still going hugely well. That’s my favorite part of the music world anyway: going to concerts and creating an amazing live experience for others. It’s the best drug I’ve ever had! So the best tip I can give the “indie goddesses” is keep playing and build your audience out there. That’s an expression that’s still in demand.
GGA: How has your animal and eco-activism informed the rest of your life, and affected your music?
TN: It gives my life a peace and purpose that it wouldn’t otherwise have. It also narrows my choices, from food to clothing to all consumer products. That’s a good thing. For example, when I go to a restaurant, well, first of all, there are only so many restaurants I will go to. Then when I look at a menu, I skip the red meat and chicken dishes, and dishes with dairy or cheese. When I do this, I automatically feel better at the end of the day.
GGA: Who inspires you?
TN: My mother, who still lives on in my heart even though she passed away last year. She’s the reason I can even stand up on a stage. The reason I followed my dreams at all. She was the kindest, happiest, smartest, wisest woman I’ve ever met. My husband who took on a new dream later in life – going to law school – and followed though even when it was fucking hard. My daughter who lived in an underfunded orphanage for the first year of her life, abandoned, alone and given barely enough food to survive, who’s been through more hardship already than anyone I know, who’s someone my husband and I already aspire to be like, one of the kindest souls we’ve ever met. God, a lot of people inspire me. Great artists with empowering messages. Trent Reznor for spilling his guts out to a sexy beat. Oprah Winfrey for routinely bringing tough human issues out in the open and getting people to love reading. Most recently, Heath Ledger in Batman. I think he set a new bar for dramatic acting with the way he played the Joker. Everday heroes. People who do extraordinary things that rarely get noticed. The men and women who put their lives on the line in the military protecting our country. Firefighters. Policemen. Volunteer workers in anything. Single parents who raise kind, happy, empowered kids. ANY parents who raise kind, happy, empowered kids.
GGA: As this interview is in effect, Palin was just named our potential VP. She scares us with her Creationist tendencies and bear fur jackets. Who scares you?
TN: I don’t scare easily.
GGA: Tell us about your career now, post-Berlin- and where you hope it will go in the next few years. What would your ideal creative life consist of?
TN: I’m enjoying doing new things lately. This year I became a published author; I contributed a chapter to a book released in August called Cherry Bomb. It’s a how-to book how to live and enjoy life like a rock star. Tori Amos wrote a chapter too, Katy Perry etc. I also co-hosted a radio talk show this year on 97.1 FREE FM in Los Angeles. I want to do more of that. Aside from my own concerts, I’ve been playing around for the last two years with CAMP FREDDY, which is an all-star band of Dave Navarro & Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Sorum (Guns N Roses & Velvet Revolver) and Billy Morrison (The Cult). Every show different artists sit in with them, so every show is different. For example, one show was Courtney Love, Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Slash, Macy Gray, Billy Duffy (The Cult), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Lemmy from Motorhead, Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) and me all singing together in different combinations. You can hear a taste of what it’s like if you type in “Terri Nunn Highway to Hell Camp Freddy” or “Terri Nunn Man In The Box Camp Freddy” on YouTube. Because of this experience, I’m putting together a concert of women artists playing together called Girls Night Out, which will debut in Los Angeles next summer. I’m also working on a new CD to be released in 2009.
GGA: What are your must-haves on the road?
TN: COFFEE! Have to have my organic French roast. It’s my last addiction and I ain’t giving it up! I also love my Cliff Z-Bars (bought them for my daughter and fell in love with them myself), you can just throw them in your carry-on. Same with raw almonds. Must have a book at all times. Currently reading Barack Obama’s “DREAMS FROM MY FATHER.” That guy can really write! My best beauty tips are EAT RAW FOOD (as much as you can; it gives energy and keeps us young) and BE HAPPY. It’s our job on Earth to find out and be what makes us happy. Doing this serves the whole planet infinitely more than being unhappy. Who wants to be around unhappy people?
GGA: We hear you give some great s-e-x advice. Our readers are full of hot mamas who love to talk “shop”.
TN: Perfect time to plug the new book Cherry Bomb. My whole chapter was on “Dating, Doing it, and Dumping.” I have a lot of sex advice in there, things that work for me. You can find out more about it on my website, www.berlinpage.com.